Volume 6 - Issue 06
JUNE - 2008
Celebrating Mother Easwaramma
The celebration of the blessed life of Mother Easwaramma, the one who gave to the world the Avatar of the age, Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba, in the most significant city of India - its capital, New Delhi, was, truly, a spectacle. Among other dignitaries who had congregated on this holy day of May 6, 2008 at the Sri Sathya Sai International Centre on Lodhi Road , was the ineffable and charismatic Union Railway Minister, Mr. Lalu Prasad Yadav.
In the course of his touching keynote address, he said, “Baba is truly God! By celebrating the anniversary of His mother, you are doing a great and pious act…I am lucky to be here…from the whole family of Railways, I thank you.” The audience were greatly touched by the sincere outpouring of emotion by the national leader, according to whom “Sai Baba is no ordinary ‘Baba’ (saint), but Bhagavan (God)”, as he stated during the Chennai Citizens Conclave in January 2007.
Though the venue was filled with eminent personalities and Sai devotees, the most happy and privileged to be there, were the Bal Vikas children - the fortunate recipients of the character-building Education in Human Values program. Many of the tiny-tots and young adults had worked for months on a special play, Vande Mataram (Victory to the Mother), depicting the five principal mothers akin to all mankind who deserve our respect and adoration.
Some of these shining little ones, after the programme, mentioned how they would sorely miss the unity and devotion, and the joy of working together. The tireless work by teachers and children, the hectic schedule and relentless effort to stage the play successfully as an offering to Swami had brought all the participants together in harmony and dedication to their Lord.
Mature Words from Those So Young
The young compeer for the evening, Parth, was quite overwhelmed by his participation in an event this inspiring. He later said, “I felt honoured, and I, truly, mean it. I felt blessed!” A student of XII grade, he continued, “Bal Vikas helps me to remain at peace, no matter what my surrounding. It has empowered me to cope with all kinds of stress, including academics.”
The day was not only a commemoration of Mother Easwaramma’s life, but also of the Bal Vikas movement which the Divine Mother was so fond of. Priyanka, from grade 10 at Bloom School , who enacted the role of Mother Earth, said,
“I feel delighted as a Bal Vikas student, as it adds to my confidence. It also gives me scope to display my extra curricular abilities. Being a dance student of Bharath Nathyam, it is here I got a chance to perform. So many more dimensions that we practice here, in Bal Vikas, enhance my concentration. I am exposed to higher values, and I try to incorporate them in my life. It is, after all, Swami, whose blessings I feel at every stage of my life. I believe, if you are putting in the best of your efforts, the rest is taken care of by Swami Himself.”
Priyanka’s father, Mr. Ravi Shankar, who works as a Vice President in Reliance Energy, appreciated the concept of the play which revolved on the five dimensions of the concept of Motherhood. He also gladly shared his daughter’s progress under Bal Vikas. “She is involved in every kind of activity of Bal Vikas. This has a sobering influence on her; she is more balanced and understanding now, when it came to resolving issues among her friends.”
It is to witness the performance of these budding blossoms of human excellence that were present many esteemed individuals, including the Honourable Minister for Railways, Sri Lalu Prasad Yadav, and Mr. Jai Prakash Narayan Yadav, the Honorable Minister of State for Water Resources.
Vibrations of Love
From the moment, the doors of the spacious and inviting auditorium were opened at 5.30 in the evening, it reverberated with melodious bhajans rendered by sisters Nandini Bhattacharya, Sai Bhawani, and Shivani Anand; the audience participated with great enthusiasm and joy. Everyone who entered the hall could feel the holy vibrations of the sacred occasion.
When the Chief Guest, Mr. Lalu Prasad Yadav arrived, he first saluted all with folded hands and then lit the lamp to mark the auspicious beginning of the programme. He was then presented a bouquet of flowers by the National Bal Vikas Coordinator, Mrs. Nimmi Kanwar.
State President Exhorts the Blossoming of Bal Vikas
Then followed a speech by Mr. Jatinder Cheema, the State President of Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organisation, New Delhi, who delineated on the philosophy and purpose, genesis and growth of the Bal Vikas movement and also extended a warm welcome to the honourable Mr. Lalu Prasad, the chief guest of the evening. In part, he said,
“Bal Vikas teaches elements most important in this age of global terrorism and cultural degradation. Today, the Bal Vikas movement is the beacon of hope to turn around the world for the better. It is in this spirit the children of the Delhi Bal Vikas are today presenting the programme Vande Mataram….
I would like to take this opportunity to exhort all our sisters and brothers engaged in Bal Vikas, to take this movement forward with greater vigour, because it has an important task for bringing semblance of a new civil society, and for the future generation of Indians. While we make strides in science and technology, it is also our abundant duty to make leaps in preserving our ancient Indian heritage and culture of universalism, brotherhood of mankind, and most importantly, the spirit to love all and to serve all.”
Mr. Cheema then introduced the chief guest in glowing terms, mentioning at length how the railways have prospered under his benign governance, and how the “Railway fares are on a downward spiral and the services provided by them are on an upward curve.”
Enthralling Speech by the Chief Guest - Mr. Lalu Prasad Yadav
Next, was the moment of the day – the most memorable and moving address by Mr. Lalu Prasad Yadav, the chief guest. He said,
“I salute the mother of Sri Sathya Sai Baba in whose memory the day is being celebrated as Easwaramma Day. In Indian culture, mother is given a high pedestal. In today’s cultural programme, the Bal Vikas children are going to project the five aspects of Motherhood which convey motherly affection. The mere mention of the word ‘mother’ should be enough for us to bow our head in reverence, because we can never repay her love and affection. The mother, may herself go without food, but feeds her kids; the mother who provides shade for her children herself being exposed to the sun…we are duty bound to serve her.
“But, unfortunately nowadays, people are shirking from serving their mothers, and this is a matter of great concern. I believe, service to mother is service to God. I hope those who are engaged in Bal Vikas will help in inculcating in the public mind the ideal of serving the mother...
“I was told that the Bal Vikas children are spread all over the country and are taught how to be good human beings. I extend my good wishes to the Bal Vikas children who are profitably using their time and study for nine years. I hope you will all spread Sai Baba's message of service far and wide…
“I am fortunate I could have Darshan of Swami on two occasions. I did not believe in Him first, but when I learnt more about Him, I could realize what a Great Soul He is. He is also very simple. When I went to Puttaparthi, Swami was waiting at the Mandir, despite the discomfiture with His leg. I was greatly impressed by this. He took me into the interview room, and said, ‘Whether you come here or not, I observe you from here, and you are doing a good job. Problems come; pain and pleasure are common in an individual's life. They come and go.’ Then, He blessed me profusely.
“I also saw the Hospital in Puttaparthi. Baba ensures that poor people get excellent treatment in His Hospitals. Outstanding doctors come to the Hospital for rendering Seva.
“The second time I met Him was in Chennai. Water is a serious problem today. On the issue of water, there are conflicts in different parts of the country. He provided drinking water (to the city). He is truly God. He says Bhagavan is there in the Mandir, Masjid (mosque), Church, and Gurudwar (Sikh place of worship) - and in you and me.
“I went and saw the place where the holy Mother gave birth to Baba; now a temple for Lord Shiva stands there. The Mother of Baba, Easwaramma, is immortal. We should not forget the Divine Mother.
“Baba’s entire life is decided to serve. Saints, Bhagavan and great souls come and uplift people through their Message. Let us use our lives for serving the disadvantaged and suffering humanity. This is what Baba says. He calls upon the people to become good human beings and to keep our hearts clean.
“He also performs miracles! He asked me which deity I worship. I said ‘Maa’ (mother). I was looking intently if He was taking anything from out from His pocket. He gave me a Sheravaali Maa's (Goddess Durga) pendent with a chain. People from all over the world - rich, middle class and poor - go to Him. He is truly God! By celebrating the anniversary of Baba's Mother, you are doing a great and pious act. Your Bal Vikas children are enacting a play, and I am lucky to participate in the function. From the whole family of Railways I thank you all!”
There was a moment of silence, and then the whole auditorium exploded into a thunderous applause. The chief guest again saluted the audience, and then left the stage for the Bal Vikas children to takeover.
The Drama Vande Mantaram Gives Much Food for Thought
The musical drama Vande Mantaram depicted the five facets of the ‘Mother’ common to the life of every human being. The first Mother portrayed was ‘Veda Mata’, or the Vedic Mother - the giver of knowledge, since time immemorial. They depicted how the Vedas and the ancient scriptures are the very foundation of Indian culture and spirituality. The universal appeal of the Vedas, lies in the fact that, in them are embedded and espoused the true principles of not only the Hindu religion, but also other world faiths. Ideas such as Vasudhaiva kutumbakam (‘the whole world is one family’) eloquently express the uniqueness of Sanathana Dharma, the ancient belief-system of India.
Next, was ‘Go Mata’ or ‘the Cow as Mother’. The children brought to life how the cow is the symbol of purity and prosperity, and has always been held as the supreme example of sacrifice. She is accorded a special position in Indian culture, and no holy ritual is complete without her gifts. Most interestingly, the cow has an unforgettably sweet and loving relationship with the Lord, who is also called ‘Gopal Krishna’ (he protector of the cow).
The children then demonstrated the third Mother - ‘Bhoomata’, or ‘Mother Earth’ - the Mother who sustains and nourishes all forms of our planet’s bountiful Nature. Despite all the wrong doing of man, she continues to exemplify compassion. Her tolerance is extreme, but there comes a time when even she expresses her sorrow and dissatisfaction in the form of natural calamities. The drama exhorted all to listen to her message, which for every inhabitant of the planet is the same: to recognise the extent to which Man’s selfishness has grown and beware of the tragic consequences of this recklessness.
The next universal Mother, the kids performed, was ‘Deha mata’, or ‘the Physical Mother' whose love, sacrifice and nurturing is vital to the wholesome development of the child. She lays the foundation of a stable and civilised society, as the seeds of goodness and righteousness are sown in the home itself. She is the very first teacher and the lessons learnt in the lap of the mother remain ingrained forever in the psyche of the child.
Finally, the most glorious, was ‘Desha mata’ or the ‘Motherland’ - the giver of our national identity and culture, who is worthy of the most supreme sacrifice. The names of those who surrendered their mind, body and soul for the wellbeing and protection of their country are engraved in gold in the hearts of men forever. The glory of the motherland should be the end of all our endeavours and efforts, was the teaching of this last portion. When the play concluded, the audience cheered heartily for the noble theme and splendid performance.
By way of this play, the Bal Vikas children had successfully reminded the audience that we are eternally indebted to each of these Mothers to whom we owe our very existence, and to fulfil our debts to them is our supreme duty. The deep-seated impact of the play was obvious in the faces that filled the auditorium.
More Tributes to Bal Vikas
At the close, Etnsa, who was also a dance participant, expressed her confidence that Swami will always be there to guide her. Her mother, Mrs. Sunita said, “I am lost for words. This year’s programme was so well organized and disciplined with a moving storyline. Bal Vikas works miraculous improvements on my children. I can see their positive change in academics and attitude.”
Prachi, studying in grade V at Queens Mary’s School, who danced in the play said, “I thoroughly enjoyed the practice sessions. I felt Swami’s Love continuously.” Her mother, Mrs. Kiran, who is an associate guru, delivered a fitting testimonial to Bal Vikas, when she said, “It is Prachi whose conduct at home inspired me to join Bal Vikas, and get the Blessings of Swami. She is so loving, so caring and so devoted to Bhagavan - and at this age!”
Another Bal Vikas guru present there, summarising her feelings, said,
“The most powerful gifts of Bal Vikas are a focused awareness and the beauty of a life suffused with values. Bal Vikas is like a protective ring around the child, which enables a life of harmony within and with others. The child gains experiential understanding of the power of value-based living through the Nine Point Code of Conduct, Ten Fold Path to Divinity, practising compassion and talking sweetly. Bal Vikas activities deepen the child’s connectivity with divinity. All the children find they are more joyful and at peace; they naturally wish to share this with others, and so, without trying, they live out Swami’s teaching: Love All Serve All.”
The wonderful day of May 6, 2008 in Delhi left an indelible imprint in the hearts of everyone present that sacred evening. It was a befitting celebration of Mother Easwaramma and the Divine Mother Sai, the eternal guardian, guide and the goal of all. It demonstrated what proper care and nurturing, in an environment of love and harmony, can do to blossom young hearts. It gave hope, joy and a glimpse of the Golden Age, which is sure to come, when children learn to live for others more and themselves less, as they grow into adulthood – into mature personalities and responsible citizens.
Today, several generations of men and women are able to live fuller, more meaningful lives, thanks to the values education that the Bal Vikas movement has conferred upon them, infusing them with confidence and calm. The program has its source in the wisdom and the vision of the greatest teacher of all times, the perfect exemplar of the five values himself, a life coach to millions – Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. To the noble mother who bestowed the gift of His sacred presence on the planet, the Bal Vikas movement everywhere is eternally beholden. Vande Matram!
- Heart2Heart Team
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Vol 6 Issue 06 - JUNE 2008
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